The Dickinson Rotary Club made front page news in The Dickinson Press on December 25, 1920, when it was reported that the city “now has a full-fledged Rotary Club.” The club started with 20 members, becoming one of over 800 rotary clubs worldwide at that time.
The article stated that a thorough survey was made of the city by district officials before it was granted the capability of establishing a Rotary club due to the size of Dickinson and that “this community is inde(e)d fortunate in being able to boast of a club such as the one which has just been formed.”
Hundred years have passed since that genesis and the Dickinson Rotary Club remains ever present and dedicated to its community’s well-being.
Dickinson Rotary Club are celebrating their 100th anniversary on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the Roosevelt Grand Dakota with food, dance, 100th anniversary gifts and historic placements. Joe Wiegand will be the master of Ceremonies.
“Our Club was founded in December 1920, but we were chartered in February 1921. So it is exactly a hundred years since we have had a club in Dickinson…” Dickinson Rotary chapter Treasurer, Brad Fong said. “There has never been a void in those hundred years,”
“For how young of a city and state, we’re proud …”. 100th Anniversary Member Emmerich said, adding to Fong’s thought.
The original officers of the club were L.R. Baird, president; W.F. Burnett, Vice president; A.D. Heaton, secretary treasurer.
Membership was acquired through invite only and only men were allowed to join. In 1988, women were no longer omitted from the club and according to Fong, the club is now made up of around 40 percent women.
They have three levels of membership, full membership, corporate membership, basic membership and are hoping to soon offer youth memberships.
“We want people who want to make a difference in Dickinson … It costs a little bit of money to be a Rotarian but a lot of college kids have debt. So we are going to come up with a youth membership to help out because being a Rotarian I think looks good on their resume.”
Members of the club are community leaders that use their resources, skills and craft to better the community. For hundred years, the Dickinson chapter has been able to find these individuals within the community.
“We have a common interest in the welfare of our city…We’re trying to make the city better, ” Fong said. It's not just one person that does it all, it is the whole group and amongst the group there are many people with different skills and they donate their skills or business skills…” Fong said. “It's a group commitment, it's not just one or two stars. We are made up of really good people.”
Though the amount of local support Dickinson Rotary Club goes well beyond this list, they have made contributions to Dickinson State University, local athletic programs, highway cleaning, the West River Community Center, funded Prairie Outpost Park, and annually give out around 10 student, vocational and nursing scholarships.
They Have enriched the history in Dickinson and as we look back as a community through time we can see what they have accomplished for the local area such as handing out dictionaries out to third grader but also on a larger scope with their contribution to the International Rotary mission of the eradication of polio with their annual pancake Karnival event, and to the Paul Harris Foundation, named after the founder of Rotary.
“We have served Dickinson for a hundred years. Non stop for a hundred years.
Emmerich said. “So we think we are the leaders of the town, community leaders.”
Emmerich and Fong share a short laugh followed by Fong’s add remark.
“We generally try to put a hand on anything that comes across that we feel will be well for the community,”